On this episode of The Mobile Home Park Lawyer, Ferd explains why the perception that your renters have of you is important and how the kind of vehicle you drive onto your park can affect that. Enjoy!
“Sometimes I wear a suit and I’m a lawyer. Sometimes I wear boots and jeans and I’m just a trailer park owner. Sometimes I am the property manager, sometimes I’m the owner. It’s just kind of a strategic thing.”
0:00 – Intro
0:54 – It’s not a good idea to show up to your parks in a Porsche
2:10 – You should get a truck as it can be useful in the park and tells a good story
2:42 – As the owner, it’s advantageous to represent yourself as the property manager when you are at your parks
3:03 – Ferd carries 3 business cards for different situations
3:44 – Having a truck doesn’t give off the vibe of being an owner
4:50 – Having different roles can helpful strategically
Welcome back mobile home park nation. Here again today with another episode. Today’s episode, we’re going to focus on something really simple. What kind of car should I drive? You may think this is irrelevant. This doesn’t matter, but I think it’s worth mentioning because I see some people make mistakes out there. I’m currently under contract to purchase a mobile home park here in Missouri. And I met with a seller on site in the seller rolls up in his Porsche Cayenne SUV. I don’t know how much that costs probably $80,000, a $100,000 or more, really nice vehicle. He’s there to collect rent and the rent is $280 a month. And a lot of these people can barely pay for it. And he’s shown up in a Porsche, not a very good idea.
I think the proper car is a truck. I’m partial to my Ford F150 because you know, it’s a nice truck. I’ve got a Lariat, it’s got the leather, extended crew cab, all that, cause it’s a nice truck, but it’s not a Porsche. It’s not a Lexus. It’s not a Mercedes. If you want to have a Mercedes, that’s great. You want to have your hot ride, your Dodge Viper or whatever. That’s fine, but don’t drive that into the park. All it does is put a target on your back that this is a rich guy. This is a rich guy I shouldn’t be paying rent for. And you may not be rich, you may just have, you may have payments that are choking on the Porsche, but it’s just kind of a dumb idea.
Other folks, you know, recommend kind of a bland car, you know, in the business like a tourist or something. Maybe a beige Volvo, something really boring. Maybe something that has a little better mileage than my truck. And I like the hot rod too, but it’s not a really good idea to bring it into the mobile home park.
So ultimately pretty easy decision in my mind, get the truck because you can throw some stuff in the back occasionally. You’ll see me helping lift a mattress or loading mulch or towing a trailer, not a mobile home trailer, but a trailer with, I’ve got one of my driveway right now with a couple of dumpsters on it cause I got a home remodel project going on. So, I’m bringing it home for a maintenance guy. Who’s doubling as my contractor at home. And I brought the trailer home from the mobile home park today.
So that’s just a pretty simple practical tip because it really dovetails well with my goal is that I’m just the manager. I think it’s advantageous to represent yourself as the property manager. And I don’t think it’s disingenuous or, straight up lying because like I am the manager. I also happen to be the manager of the LLC that may or may not have investors and be a syndicator but remember I’m a property manager. So, I carry more, now I carry three sets of business cards. One of them says I’m a CEO of my real estate company. One I’m them says, I’m an attorney at the MHP lawyer law firm that I have. And one of them says, I’m the property manager at a property management company that I own. And I don’t have my phone number in my property manager cards. I just have my email because I don’t want a bunch of tenants giving it out.
So, I’ve got my actual onsite, regular property manager or park greeter with business cards and they’ll have their name, their email, their phone number. And on the back, same card is my name and email. And as a result, I don’t have a bunch of tenants calling me. They don’t have access to my cell phone number, but further portrays that hey, I’m just a manager. And part of that has been involved with my vehicle. Cause even though it’s a nice truck, it’s just a working man’s truck. It doesn’t give any indication I’m an owner, which always gives me the out to punch things down the road to quote headquarters.
I regularly have people call headquarters and talk to one of my employees and say, I would like to talk, tell on Ferd for this. He won’t give me a break on X, and they’ll threaten me like hey, Ferd’s going to be in trouble. And I am like, okay, and it gets back to me like, you know, sorry guys, the buck stops here. But for purposes of the portrayal, I’m not, then I don’t have a problem with the humility of oh, I’m just driving a truck and I’m just a manager. It helps strategically. It gives me some ability if there’s a challenge hey, this is the rules, headquarters makes the rules. Headquarters has the screening procedures, headquarters rejected you for the application. Headquarters says no pay, no stay. Headquarters says no play no no stay.
And then, depending on the time I see, you know, St. Paul says you’ll be all things to all people. So sometimes I wear a suit and I’m a lawyer. Sometimes I wear boots and jeans and I’m just a trailer park owner. Like the seller I’m relating, sometimes I am the property manager, sometimes I’m the owner. It depends on the role and all of those things are true by the way. So, I’m not lying. It’s just kind of a strategic thing.
So, end of the line here is, what kind of vehicles should you buy? Don’t buy something flashy. Until next time.